• A majority of voters believe the proposed Employee Free Choice Act would cause U.S. companies to expand abroad and would negatively impact U.S. job creation according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce poll released on February 1, 2010. The poll found that 62 percent of those questioned believe that EFCA would result in more U.S. companies creating jobs over seas while 25 percent of those questioned believed EFCA would result in more job creation within the U.S.
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees approved the nominations of Craig Becker (D) to membership on the National Labor Relations Board and Cynthia Attwood (D) to membership on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Becker practiced as a labor law attorney for eight years before becoming associate general counsel for the SEIU in 1990 and then staff counsel for the AFL-CIO in 2004. Becker also taught labor law at several law schools and has published numerous academic articles on labor law. Many management groups are opposed to Becker’s nomination, arguing that Becker has a pro-union agenda and his views are a threat to economic growth. Attwood served as an administrative judge on the Labor Department’s Administrative Review Board for three years and also served as associate solicitor for occupational safety and health at the DOL. Democrats failed to obtain the 60 votes necessary to override a filibuster on Becker’s and Attwood’s appointments. If Democrats cannot obtain the necessary vote, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has indicated that the White House will use recess appointments for critical nominees.
  • Iowa Governor Chet Culver issued an executive order that requires all state departments and agencies to use project labor agreements for state construction projects costing $25 million or more. The executive order also requires that, once implemented on a project, the PLA must allow contractors and subcontractors to compete for contracts regardless of whether they are subject to collective bargaining agreements. The executive order also mandates that the PLAs guarantee against any strikes, lockouts, or other work disruptions. Many have criticized the Governor’s order as imposing too many burdens on the construction industry.
  • The proposed excise tax on high-cost benefit plans contained in the Senate-passed version of the health care reform bill will have significantly greater impact on non-union employees according to a study released by the University of California, Berkley’s Center for Labor Research and Education. By 2019, approximately 80 percent of employees impacted by the excise tax will be in non-union jobs. The excise tax is also less likely to affect union employees because the bill contains an exemption for collective bargaining plans.
  • Legislation pending in Washington state would mandate unionization of the private child care industry. Washington House Bill 1329 would require union representation over both child care center employees and the ownership and center management. The union representation, however, would be limited to negotiations with the state legislature over the amount of child care subsidies paid to centers who accept children from low income homes. Critics argue that representation of both employees and management violates federal labor law, but supporters contend that the limited scope of the representation is not preempted by federal law. In order to organize employees under the proposed legislation, unions must submit written proof that 30 percent of the centers in a region support unionization. Once a union submits written proof of 30 percent support, an election is held only to determine which union will represent the region’s child care workers.